Adopted into a loving innkeeper's family, Aza struggles with feeling ugly, in spite of the fact that she has one of the most beautiful singing voices ever heard. When she has the opportunity to visit the castle and attend the wedding of the King and his new Queen, Aza makes quite an impression. Before long, she is involved in a secret that could lead to her imprisonment--or the downfall of the kingdom.
This book shares a number of similarities with The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale; things aren't as easy as they ought to be for a fairy tale heroine with a bit of magic at her disposal. If you enjoy more complex fairy tales, this is a fine choice. While I am very fond of Ella Enchanted (also by this author), I have a soft spot for this book, even though it's a bit quirky and less mainstream.
Readers of Ella Enchanted will recognize Areida, Aza's younger sister, who goes to boarding school and befriends Ella there. While there are occasional references to cities and characters common to both books, readers who have not read Ella Enchanted will have no problem reading Fairest first.
"As I turned into the corridor, I heard one of the courtiers say, 'Such a voice! It's unfortunate Lady Aza's mother was a hippopotamus.'
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